Definition/Explanation of Palliative Care
In general, palliative care is a patient-centered treatment specialized in relieving the symptoms of advanced diseases. The World Health Organization provides the following explanation, “Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness” (WHO, 2020). It implies that palliative care does not only take physical treatment into account but also addresses the mental support of the patients. Due to the increasing lifespans and aging population, palliative care has become particularly significant since a large number of conditions for treatment emerge because of the frailty of old age.
Three Defining Attributes
As mentioned briefly before, one of the attributes of palliative care is the expansive nature of the treatment. Unlike a large number of specific nursing practices, palliative care addresses the physical, mental, spiritual, and social issues of the patients and improves their quality of life (WHO, 2020). The second attribute is also derived from the essence of palliative care and concerns the purpose of the treatment. Unlike most medical practices, palliative care does not aim at the complete recovery of the patients since the treatment generally revolves around chronic and terminal illnesses. Therefore, the primary purpose of palliative care is to improve the quality of the end-of-life stage of the patients and potentially relieve the symptoms.
The third defining attribute concerns the degree and specialization of palliative care. This form of treatment can vary from basic and non-specialist medical care implemented by family members to professional treatment that requires a solid academic and practical foundation (Nevin, Smith & Hynes, 2019). The necessity of the approach has led to a broad diversification of treatment, including generalist, primary, supportive, whole person, and basic palliative care (Nevin et al. 2019). Ultimately, the three aforementioned attributes address the primary implications of the concept.
Antecedent and 1 Consequence of the Concept
The antecedent of the concept is the preceding condition or terminal illness that demands the introduction of palliative care. Primarily, the diseases include cancer, organ failure, dementia, and other disorders, including Parkison’s disease, multiple sclerosis, etc. (Etkind et al. 2017). The aforementioned conditions are frequently associated with large amounts of pain, higher sensitivity to external stimuli, difficulties in breathing, and other physical and psychological complications (Etkind et al. 2017). With the continual improvement of healthcare services, the overall longevity is also increasing. It implies that the palliative care industry will grow extensively in the near future since older adults are the primary target group of the treatment (Etkind et al. 2017). Ultimately, palliative care is the response to diseases; therefore, the treatment is always preceded by certain conditions and illnesses. The primary consequence of the concept is the overall improvement of the living conditions of the patient. Palliative care has proven to be highly effective in alleviating the pain and relieving the symptoms of the patients (Pereira et al. 2018). Therefore, improving the quality of the end-of-life stage is the direct purpose and consequence of palliative care.
The model case chosen for the current work is the specific type of palliative care – home treatment. As mentioned before, palliative care covers a broad scope of medical treatment from highly professional settings to home healthcare. Recently, palliative home care has seen rapid development and respective support from the government in a large number of countries (Maetens et al. 2017). Despite the lack of quality, this type of treatment might also be highly effective due to a more personal approach (Maetens et al. 2017). Furthermore, palliative home care ensures all the attributes and advantages of the method. It is a general treatment that affects the physical, mental, and spiritual levels of the patient; it is also effective and alleviates pain and other symptoms. Lastly, palliative home care addresses the third attribute of the concept since it is the canonical example of a non-specialist approach. Therefore, this model case meets the criteria of the assignment and might be utilized by anyone whose relatives are in the terminal stages of diseases.
Theoretical Applications of Palliative Care
Most types of palliative care require constant attention from the medical personnel and are subject to various nursing theories. Since this treatment does not cure the patients but rather merely alleviates the symptoms, some people might doubt the effectiveness of the approach. That is why palliative care is frequently associated with the humanistic nursing theory that emphasizes the ethics of healthcare (Pereira et al. 2018). Therefore, palliative care provides the foundation and moral ground for humanistic nursing theories.
Having reflected on the concept, I believe that palliative care is an essential part of medical services and is a necessary component of a functioning healthcare system. It is vital to ensure adequate conditions for terminally ill people and older adults with life-threatening diseases. Furthermore, I believe that palliative care is correct from the perspective of ethics, and I am also certain that a timely medical intervention can reduce the overall cost of healthcare services. Therefore, this type of treatment addresses both the humanistic and practical aspects of healthcare.
Etkind, S. N., Bone, A. E., Gomes, B., Lovell, N., Evans, C. J., Higginson, I. J., & Murtagh, F. E. M. (2017). How many people will need palliative care in 2040? Past trends, future projections and implications for services. BMC Medicine, 15(1). Web.
Maetens, A., Beernaert, K., Deliens, L., Aubry, R., Radbruch, L., & Cohen, J. (2017). Policy Measures to Support Palliative Care at Home: A Cross-Country Case Comparison in Three European Countries. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 54(4), 523-529. Web.
Nevin, M., Smith, V., & Hynes, G. (2019). Non-specialist palliative care: A principle-based concept analysis. Palliative Medicine, 1-16. Web.
Pereira, A., Ferreira, A., Martins, J., & Barbieri-Figueiredo, M. (2018). Nursing theories in palliative care investigation: A review. Hospice & Palliative Medicine International Journal, 2(4), 231-234. Web.
World Health Organization. (2020). Palliative care. Web.